Jeremy Corbyn is making it crystal clear that he’s on the side of ordinary working people – not the tiny billionaire class that backs the Tories. And his pledge to “take on the billionaires” is exactly what the UK – and the world – needs.
They need us. We don’t need them. That’s a power we need to unleash.
Billionaires need us, but we don’t need them. Because what would billionaires be or have without workers? We create and buy the goods they sell us. Without us, they’d have nothing. That’s something we desperately need to emphasise right now. The super-rich may try to convince us that they’re the ‘wealth creators’. But that’s clearly bull. Because if we all stopped working and buying, economies and ‘wealth creation’ would grind to a halt.
It’s precisely because ordinary working people are the true powerhouses of all economies that we deserve wellbeing. We work hard, and we deserve good health, education, housing, and leisure in return. We fully deserve both dignity and happiness. And so do the people who, through no fault of their own, are unable to work.
In our current political system, however, the super-rich don’t (and won’t) ensure our wellbeing voluntarily. They like us to just beg for scraps, and to fear their power to destroy our economies if we demand more. And that’s exactly why we – with and without our existing government structures – must demand our wellbeing and cement it into law. This means full, proper compensation for our work. It means quality public services. And it means fair, appropriate taxation.
We are vastly greater in number than the super-rich. And that’s a power we must unleash.
‘Billionaires should not exist’
In the US, Bernie Sanders has stressed that “billionaires should not exist”. And even billionaire presidential hopeful Tom Steyer seems to agree, calling vast income inequality “absolutely wrong… absolutely undemocratic and unfair”. Over in the UK, meanwhile, Corbyn has suggested that people should be free to make money, but also that:
If they do become incredibly rich, then I invite them to be happy with their wealth but also to share it a bit by paying their taxes as appropriately so that our public services are there for them – just as much as they’re there for everybody else – so that we don’t have this horribly divided society.
It’s not extreme to demand greater equality, either. It’s just logical. As Oxford professor Danny Dorling previously told The Canary, countries with greater economic equality do “better in almost all spheres of life”. The increasing inequality in recent decades – and the simultaneously increasing power of the super-wealthy – has been utterly disastrous for ordinary people. And as Oxfam’s Max Lawson has insisted, “corruption and crony connections to governments are behind a significant proportion of billionaire wealth”. The very existence of billionaires, he said, is “a sign of economic failure” and ‘undermines democracy’.
Studies have also suggested that most unequal countries have a greater impact on the global climate crisis. And as Rasika Sittamparam and University of the West of England lecturer Karen Bell recently pointed out in The Canary, the richest countries also play a much bigger role than the poorest in climate breakdown.
Corbyn’s Labour vs the corrupt elitist system
Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle recently raised an important electoral question on the BBC:
Are you on the side of the tax dodgers or of the billionaires, or are you on the side of normal working people?
And in a follow-up article, he described how:
the 310,000, mostly white middle-aged men from London, who make up that top 1% of UK earners, take home 14% of the national income. …
Roughly a quarter of national wealth is controlled by the country’s top 1% of rich people, a proportion that has risen inexorably under the policies started by Margaret Thatcher, and continued through the years of New Labour and recent Tory governments. …
these figures do not even account for the billions that are squirrelled away offshore by the super-rich.
The richest 26 people in the world, meanwhile, reportedly own the same amount as the poorest half of the planet’s population.
But as Russell-Moyle stressed:
Labour is no longer intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich because we now know that inequality costs us all economically.
We need change. And we have the power to get it.
Britain’s billionaire class is already doing its best to try and stop voters from electing a Corbyn-led government to power. That’s because such a government would shift power away from the super-rich and towards ordinary working people, who deserve so much better. And that’s exactly why we need to use our power to put Corbyn in Downing Street this coming election.
Featured image via This Morning
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